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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the side effects of betaxolol (Betoptic, Kerlone, Optipres) eye drops?

Short Answer

Most people do not suffer any serious side effects from using betaxolol.

Long Answer

This medication may temporarily sting your eyes for a minute or two when you first use it. If stinging persists or becomes bothersome, inform your doctor. Vision may be temporarily blurred or unstable after applying drops. Use caution driving or performing duties requiring clear vision.

See notes below for more information about side effects.

Additional Information

Side Effects of Betaxolol
Betaxolol has been studied thoroughly in clinical trials. In these studies, the side effects that occur in a group of people taking the drug are documented and are then compared to side effects that occur in another group of people taking either a similar medication or, in some cases, a placebo (a "sugar pill" with no active ingredients). This way, it is possible to see what side effects occur, how often they appear, and how they compare to the groups not taking the medicine.
In these studies, the most common side effects of betaxolol tablets included:
  • Fatigue -- in up to 9.7 percent of people
  • A slow heart rate (bradycardia) -- up to 8.1 percent
  • Nausea -- up to 5.8 percent
  • Joint pain -- up to 5.2 percent
  • Insomnia -- up to 5 percent
  • Indigestion or heartburn -- up to 4.7 percent.
Drugs.com: What other drugs will affect betaxolol?
Before taking betaxolol, tell your doctor if you are using:
  • allergy treatments (or if you are undergoing allergy skin-testing);
  • clonidine (Catapres);
  • digoxin (digitalis, Lanoxin);
  • guanabenz (Wytensin);
  • an MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), tranylcypromine (Parnate), phenelzine (Nardil), or selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam);
  • a diabetes medication such as insulin, glyburide (Diabeta, Micronase, Glynase), glipizide (Glucotrol), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), or metformin (Glucophage);
  • a heart medication such as amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone), disopyramide (Norpace), nifedipine (Procardia, Adalat), reserpine (Serpasil), verapamil (Calan, Verelan, Isoptin), diltiazem (Cartia, Cardizem);
  • medicine for asthma or other breathing disorders, such as albuterol (Ventolin, Proventil), metaproterenol (Alupent), pirbuterol (Maxair), terbutaline (Brethaire, Brethine, Bricanyl), and theophylline (Theo-Dur, Theolair); or
  • cold medicines, stimulant medicines, or diet pills.
This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with betaxolol. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor
MedlinePlus Drug Information: Betaxolol Ophthalmic

Betaxolol may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • eye irritation
  • eye tearing
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • insomnia

If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • difficulty breathing
  • change in vision
  • eye pain
MedicineNet.com: Betaxolol ophthalmic solution
Ophthalmic betaxolol can cause side effects which are usually mild and transient. The most common side effect is transient ocular (temporary eye) discomfort. Rarely, betaxolol eye drops can result in side effects that are seen with oral beta-adrenergic blockers. For example, persons can experience fatigue, insomnia, nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, depression, slow heart rate, low blood pressure, cold extremities, and shortness of breath or wheezing.
Betaxolol: Drug Information Provided by Lexi-Comp: Merck Manual Professional
Anaphylactic reactions: Use caution with history of severe anaphylaxis to allergens; patients taking beta-blockers may become more sensitive to repeated challenges. Treatment of anaphylaxis (eg, epinephrine) in patients taking beta-blockers may be ineffective or promote undesirable effects.
Bronchospastic disease: In general, patients with bronchospastic disease should not receive beta-blockers; however, betaxolol, with B1 selectivity, may be used cautiously with the lowest possible dose (eg, 5-10 mg/day), availability of a bronchodilator, and close monitoring; if a dosage increase is indicated, administer in divided doses.
Cerebrovascular insufficiency: Use with caution in patients with cerebrovascular insufficiency; hypotension and decreased heart rate may reduce cerebral blood flow.
Conduction abnormality: Consider pre-existing conditions such as sick sinus syndrome before initiating therapy.
Diabetes: Use with caution in patients with diabetes mellitus; may potentiate and/or mask signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia.
Heart failure (HF): Use with caution in patients with compensated heart failure and monitor for a worsening of the condition. Discontinue ophthalmic preparations with signs of cardiac failure.
Myasthenia gravis: Use with caution in patients with myasthenia gravis; may potentiate myasthenia-related muscle weakness, including diplopia and ptosis.
Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) and Raynaud's disease: May precipitate or aggravate symptoms of arterial insufficiency in patients with PVD and Raynaud's disease. Use with caution and monitor for progression of arterial obstruction.
Pheochromocytoma (untreated): Adequate alpha-blockade is required prior to use of any beta-blocker.
Psoriasis: Beta-blocker use has been associated with induction or exacerbation of psoriasis, but cause and effect have not been firmly established.
Psychiatric disease: Use with caution in patients with a history of psychiatric illness; may cause or exacerbate CNS depression.
Renal impairment: Use with caution in patients with renal impairment; dosage adjustment required in severe impairment and in patients on dialysis.
Thyroid disease: May mask signs of hyperthyroidism (eg, tachycardia). If hyperthyroidism is suspected, carefully manage and monitor; abrupt withdrawal may precipitate thyroid storm.
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